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Ministry forecasts ‘favourable’ dry, early rainy season weather

Source: Phnom Penh Post
Date: January 15, 2020

The Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology has issued a weather forecast for this year, which shows that the dry and early rainy season will be more favourable than in previous years due to the influence of El Nino/Southern Oscillation (Enso).

On Monday, its minister Lim Kean Hor issued a weather forecast for the dry season and the early rainy season. He said Enso will play a particularly important role.

Enso refers to variations in winds and sea surface temperatures affecting the climate of much of the tropics and subtropics. The warming phase of the sea temperature is known as El Nino and the cooling phase as La Nina. Enso fluctuates between three phases – Neutral, La Nina or El Nino.

This year, Kean Hor said, the influence of Enso’s neutral phase on Cambodia will reach 60 per cent.

“Checks on the influence of the three phenomena [Neutral, La Nina and El Nino] show that the weather situations for the dry season and early rainy season this year will be better than the dry season and early rainy season of last year,” the notice said.

Despite the good news, the minister called on citizens in remote areas far from water sources to use water economically, explaining that rain in April and May will be scarce and water may be in short supply.

During this year’s dry season, temperatures will rise above the annual average, the notice said. Rainfall will be below the average of the last several years.
The Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology has said El Nino will bring more favourable weather this year.

The forecast said the maximum temperature this month will be between 30C and 32C in mountainous and highland provinces.

In central lowland areas, the maximum temperature will reach 33-35C. It will hit 31-33C in coastal areas.

From February, the heat will pick up, reaching its highest point in April. In the meantime, early rains, including rainstorms and lightning strikes, are likely to occur.

The rainy season this year will start during the second week of May, according to the notice, bringing an average or below-average amount of rain that can, nonetheless, be considered normal.

Following the notice, Banteay Meanchey provincial department head Seang Vanseth called on farmers to exercise caution during the dry season, as early rains could create the right conditions for disease-carrying mosquitoes to thrive. The problem could be particularly severe in March and April, he said.

“In general, in those two months, some water sources including lakes, rivers, creeks and wells, will dry up. The increasing heat will create the right conditions for other diseases that affect humans. Farmers must be aware of these dangers and conserve water,” he said.


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NBC Urges Increased Use of Riel in Lending

Source: Phnom Penh Post
Date: August 26, 2019

The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) urged financial institutions across the Kingdom to increase the share of local currency in their loan portfolios to at least 10 per cent by the end of this year.

During its 48th Monetary Policy Committee meeting last week, the NBC reminded commercial lenders to comply with the new requirement.

In December 2016, the NBC issued a prakas instructing all banks and MFIs to hold a minimum 10 per cent of their loan portfolio in riel.

The NBC has given commercial lenders until the end of this year to comply.

Kea Borann, AMK (Angkor Mikroheranhvatho Kampuchea) Microfinance Institution Plc CEO, said local currency accounts for 70 per cent of its total loan portfolios.

Borann, who is also a member of the Cambodia Microfinance Association (CMA) Board of Directors, said: “[Given that] most of our clients are rural farmers and our loans are mostly micro, many of our borrowers need riel for their transactions,” he said.

He added that “around 30 per cent of all MFIs in the Kingdom” would find it difficult to adhere to the NBC’s new requirement, saying those institutions “do not have a lot of operations in the countryside where the riel dominates”.

However, he said: “It’s not a big obstacle because the NBC has provided so much facilitation to ensure the success of the policy.

“I think, eventually, more and more microfinance institutions will succeed in meeting the standard set by the NBC.”

Bun Mony, chairman of Vithey Microfinance Institution, said currently many banks are struggling to lend riel to people even with a lower interest rate.

“I strongly support lending in riel because it will promote the use of the currency,” he said, adding that local currency acoounts for more than 10 per cent of the banks loan portfolios.

President and Group Managing Director of Acleda Bank Plc., In Channy, said riel accounts for 12.5 per cent of its total loan portfolios.

“For Acleda, increasing our share of lending in the local currency is not difficult because the bank serves customers from urban and rural areas,” he said.

Bun Yin, CEO of CIMB Bank Plc, was optimistic that it would meet the NBC’s requirement by the end of this year.

“The share of local currency in CIMB’s loan portfolios has reached seven per cent so far,” he said.

In November last year, Phillip Bank’s general manager Han Peng Kwang said the majority of borrowers in Phnom Penh still prefer to apply for loans in US dollars rather than riel, though some have become more receptive to borrow a portion of their loan in riel.